My Very First Hockey Game

It was 1987 and I was 11 years old. I had just been forced by my parents to move across town and go to a new school. I was not happy about it and refused to make new friends. I loved my old elementary school and I hated leaving my friends. In an attempt to integrate me into my new school, a girl in my class had asked if I wanted to hang out with her at the local junior hockey game one night and my mother had forced me to go. With a roll of my eyes, I made my way out the door while my mother waved at me with a big hopeful smile.

My new friend and I walked into the arena and weaved our way through the crowd to find our seats. It was loud, crowded, and it smelled awful as we took our seats near the tunnel that led to the players bench. I was not happy. I was especially irritated, as the game started, when the crowd erupted in cheers and screaming as the hometown team scored a goal because I wasn’t paying attention and the sound scared the hell out of me. I could not have been more annoyed at that point. I just wanted to go home.

As I sat there in my seat, my new friend clearly enjoying the game, I crossed my arms over my chest and slumped in my chair while passively watching what was going on among the players. A goal was scored by the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors and I chuckled at the collective groan from the crowd. I overheard the older gentleman behind me mutter to his friend, “it’s always gotta be that kid, doesn’t it?” I furrowed my brows, wondering what he meant.

As the game moved on, I learned that the older men were talking about a young Theo Fleury. Unknown to me at that time, Theo was in his last season with the Moose Jaw club and would go on to earn 68 goals and 92 assists in 65 games with the small city junior hockey team.

At one point during my first hockey game, I overheard someone in the crowd refer to Theo as “the thorn in our side,” and I quickly found out why. In that game alone, Theo tallied a point on every Moose Jaw goal. His skill to acquire goals and assists surprised even the most skeptical of spectators – namely, me. I didn’t like hockey, I didn’t watch it on a regular basis, and I couldn’t have cared less that night to have been at that game. But Theo caught my attention. Because I wasn’t happy about being forced to attend a hockey game with a friend I barely knew, I secretly grinned every time the visitors got a goal, which, in turn, meant that I was smiling at Theo down on the ice.

Theo Fleury. Even to an untrained eye, such as mine, I couldn’t help but realize how incredible he was on the ice. I felt like a traitor as I watched in wonder at the smaller player in the opposition’s jersey, who seemed to skate like a rocket and shoot like he played in the pro leagues. And, as an 11 year old girl, I formed a crush on a guy who was seemingly a lot older than I was. His smile beamed as he acquired his third point of the night and skated over to his teams bench for the celebratory high fives from his teammates.

Theo went on to earn second place in scoring that year, just behind Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos during the 1987-88 season.

My hockey senses had been awakened.

To be continued…

We Still Have So Far To Go

I wanted to do a light-hearted post on something random today, but I can’t seem to get past my feelings on a couple of articles that I read recently. It pisses me right off when I read about alleged victim’s being re-victimized or when someone, who has been accused of victimizing other people, has the option to just brush it aside as though it meant nothing. There are reasons that these accusations were made and, until it has been sorted out in court, nothing is solidified – except my own personal thoughts and feelings about the situations.

I don’t usually write about controversial things such as politics, religion, or law because I know there are two sides to every story. Yet, among my studies, one thing has held true – victims have a voice and that voice should be heard. If you’re looking for a plethora of facts in my writing, you won’t find any. All I’m giving you here is my opinion on the things that I’ve read. And until this all plays out, none of us will really know the story, but I’ve read enough and studied enough to understand the difference between right and wrong.

There’s still so much wrong in the world and I find myself recoiling in disgust. Here are the two articles I’ve stumbled across lately that make me so angry that I felt the need to write about it.

Can Jian Ghomeshi salvage his reputation? (Toronto Star, Nov 19, 2014.)

“The odds are very, very long,” he [Bill Walker, president of Midtown PR in Toronto] says. “There is a remote chance that if he does the work and comes back and talks openly and transparently about what he’s been through, how he views the things he’s done in the past, and how he views his life going forward, there probably is a remote chance for him to be rehabilitated. And forgiven.”

My question is this…
If he is found guilty of his crimes, why should Ghomeshi be given the chance to salvage his reputation? He has been accused of hurting others and, if found guilty, my respect will be gone. Maybe I’m sounding a little harsh, but I don’t think that someone, if found guilty of such terribly invasive crimes, should be allowed back in the spotlight. I refuse to give praise to someone who has been found guilty of hurting others. And they should not be allowed back into their lives as though nothing has happened when they have clearly changed other people’s lives forever because of what they’ve done.

Is that the kind of role model we want for our children? Not me. I don’t want my son to look up to anyone who has hurt others in a heinous way. Ever. I’m trying to raise a respectful part of my future community and having role models who hurt others in any way, shape, or form is not part of my parenting plan.

Don Lemon tells Bill Cosby rape accuser she should have bitten comedian’s genitals. (Washington Post, Nov 19, 2014.)

“LEMON: You — you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.”

I have a real problem with people who attempt to re-victimize victims after the victim has enough courage to say aloud what has happened to them. It is my opinion that if someone comes out and accuse someone of doing them harm, I believe them. Most adults know what implications can do to someone else’s reputation and I don’t believe they would hurt others unnecessarily for the most part.

And what the hell gives anyone else the right to question the accusers action at the time of the alleged crime? These people have been victimized enough, they don’t need any further victimization from people who weren’t even there.

I’m sickened by the disgusting thoughts/actions/words in these articles. It upsets/angers me for so many reasons, but the first reason is that I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed that these brave women, who have found the courage to stand up for themselves, have to battle for someone to believe them. It angers me that they have to fight for equality, freedom, and respect. Why should respect have to be earned in cases like this? And what’s it going to take for people to stop sympathizing with the accused and, instead, focus their efforts and support on the alleged victim?

Another reason why I’m disgusted is because I have respected some of these people in the past and they have let me down for many reasons. Mostly because I try very hard every moment of every day to raise a son who will become a decent, law-abiding, respectful part of the community and it’s hard for me to find a good role model for my son. What does it say about me as a parent when I have respected and admired some of these people in the past? It seems we can’t put our faith in anyone anymore because they will just disappoint us in the end.

Luckily, my husband is an amazing dad, a great husband, and a respectful citizen. If it weren’t for my wonderful husband and the numerous other great men and women in my son’s life, whom he’s met through school, family, and hockey, my faith in humanity would have diminished years ago.

Right now, I stand behind the victims and I think they deserve to have their voices heard. It takes someone so strong and courageous to even talk about things like this and I respect them so much for their stoicism. They’ve been through hell and back – the least we can do is let them speak!